Don’t Waste Your Money: Get your car squeaky clean this summer

Posted at 4:29 PM, May 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-27 16:29:59-04

Warmer weather usually means spring-cleaning, and that goes for your car as well. Washing is easy, but if the trim is dull or the paint is scratched, it won’t look great. Consumer Reports tested products meant to keep your trim looking new.

To test scratch-repair kits, panels were specially painted just like a new car is and lightly scratched. Then, testers applied each of three products as instructed. Simonize Fix It Pro, DuPont Pro Fusion Color, and Turtle Wax Scratch Repair Pen all filled the scratches as promised and made them less noticeable from a straight-on angle. But when viewed from the side, they look more like a bad coat of clear nail polish.

So what can you do with those scratches in your paint? Consumer Reports says fine scratches can often be polished out. Quixx Scratch Remover for about $15 worked well in tests.

To test plastic-trim restorers, testers used old, dull car panels. Each product was applied to a section, then the panels were put on the roof to face the elements. Some didn’t last very long.

The Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer and the Mothers Back-to-Black looked completely faded by day 45. The Turtle Wax Premium Grade Trim Restorer looked faded by day 57. But two stood out from the pack. The Wipe New for $18 and the $15 ReNu Finish still looked great after 70 days.